KERNEL GUIDE TO THE INTERNET

Q is for Quora

By Jeremy Wilson

The first, and perhaps most important, thing you need to know about question-and-answer website Quora is that it is not pronounced K-ora. It’s “Qu” as in “question”, followed by “ora” as in “or Answer”. It’s snippets of important information like this that regular users of Quora pick up all the time. The site is more than a simple question and answer service, it’s a destination for acquiring knowledge.

There’s no end of similar websites out there, so what makes this one different? Quora’s gimmick is that not only can you find an answer, but the policy of registering users under their real names means that the answers can be given by verifiable important and knowledgeable people.

For instance the question “What are the best cures for a hangover?” was answered by none other than star of the film Jobs, Ashton Kutcher, who advised:

  • Sleep
  • Water
  • Food
  • Painkillers
  • Milk thistle: The seeds of the milk thistle have been used for 2000 years to treat chronic liver disease and protect the liver against toxins (works better if you take before you pass out)
Famed question answerer Ashton Kutcher

Famed Quora user Ashton Kutcher

One problem with Quora is that some questions don’t have answers – a prime example being the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever. Mr Cheever, who built and scaled both Facebook and Quora, went quiet just over a year ago and hasn’t been heard of since. The official line from Quora about the hard-worked Mr Cheever was “We decided it was best for Charlie to step away from his day-to-day role at the company.”

Quora's disappeared founder Charlie Cheever, who hasn't been on the site since his sudden departure

Quora’s disappeared founder Charlie Cheever, who hasn’t been on the site since his sudden departure

It’s hard to buy the idea that Mr Cheever is finding himself on a beach in Goa, and word on the street is that the reasons for his disappearance might be more nefarious – with “kidnapped by Valleywag” and “carried off by drones” being popular suggestions. After all, if you don’t have an active Quora profile, do you even exist?